One of the most anticipated college players ever is on his way to returning to The Show. Stephen Strasburg is set to pitch one or two innings for the Washiongton Nationals A team today, 11 months after getting Tommy John surgery. Before he hurt his elbow he was dominating hitters left and right.
In twelve starts before the surgery Strasburg already had accumulated a 2.6 WAR, if he had pitched a whole season and remained healthy he would have had a WAR of over 6 in his first season. That's pretty insane. Some numbers that really jump out at you though are his 2.08 FIP and his 2.04 xFIP. His FIP- was 52, meaning his FIP was 48% better then league average which is ridiculous. Those numbers are crazy for anyone but the fact that he was in his first season shows you how good ths guy is. Strasburg was also striking out a robust 12.18 batters per nine innings and walking only 2.25. Keep in mind he was only 22 years old! He was only giving up .66 HR/9, we'll see if he can maintain that as he gets healthy but that's a crazy number. His .319 BABIP isn't all that concerning at all, we still don't know what type of BABIP numbers he'll post but a .305 BABIP would be slightly more sustainable. Besides striking batters out he's also able to induce a good amount of groundballs, getting groundballs 47.8% of the time.
Pitch f/x data shows that his fastball was averaged at 97.3 MPH, pair that with his 82.4 MPH curve and 89.7 MPH changeup then you got one heck of an arsenal. We'll have to see if he loses any velocity after Tommy John but he should still be one heck of a pitcher.
In those twelve starts that he made he already accumulated $10.4 million dollars worth of value. If he had pitched a whole season he would have accumulated close to $30 million dollars worth of value! That means in order for the Nationals to replace the value he supplied they would have had to pay $10.4 million dollars in free agency to get the production Strasburg gave them before the injury.
I did get to see him once, his major league debut in fact and he was flat out nasty. His fastball is sick but that curveball of his is unfair. He makes batters look like fools. Hopefully he comes back strong after the surgery because he has all the talent in the world to be something special.